Updated: Mar 13, 2021
This year's Panthers team has a shot to win the SIAC Championship through their seniors and head coach.
After a crushing second round exit in the 2019 SIAC Men’s Basketball Tournament, CAU’s 2019-20 men’s basketball team is poised to win the SIAC Championship under second-year head coach George Lynch.
Last season under Lynch, the Panthers finished third in the SIAC East with an overall record of 14-12 and a conference record of 10-7. CAU averaged 72.1 points per game, while allowing 71.3 points per game, and averaged 6.6 steals per game. In addition, they shot 40 percent from the field, while shooting 33 percent from the three-point line. CAU was number one in free throw percentage, shooting 73.3 percent from the free-throw line, first in three point field goals made with 8.7 and one of five teams in SIAC to have a positive point differential with 0.9. This team achieved a lot under one year with Lynch and now the Panthers on a four game winning streak and a half game away from being atop the SIAC East, the sky's the limit.
Prior to the season, Lynch was very confident in his group to succeed in his second year. “I think this year can be good. The work they’ve put in this summer… the guys are looking forward to a different role,” Lynch said. With the hard work and confidence that Lynch provided for his players, this Panthers team is ready to rock and roll. Moreover, the Panthers have two seniors on their roster that are putting up tremendous numbers this season. Forward Romaine Thomas averages 16.7 points per game, eighth in the conference, 10 rebounds per game, second in the conference, and 1.5 blocks per game, third in the conference. Similarly, Guard Tyler Singleton averages 14.5 points per game, 15th in the conference, 3.6 assists per game, fourth in the conference, while shooting 37.6% from three. If these two players can consistently put up these incredible numbers, while getting sufficient help from the supporting cast, then this experienced group can achieve championship glory.
However, the Panthers have been inconsistent this season. They started the first 10 games of the season only winning one game, then won six straight games, then lost four consecutive games and now they are on a four game winning streak. In losses, CAU has lost by an average of 7.4 points, but when CAU wins, they win by an average of 13.1 points. This inconsistent play may be a glimpse into the future of what to expect when the men’s tournament commence. Furthermore, CAU ranks in the bottom half of the conference in terms of points per game, 69.8 points, ranks the second worst in field goal percentage, 40%, and ranks bottom four in the conference in three point percentage, 31%. If CAU gets in a shootout with a high scoring team in the tournament, such as: Benedict College or Savannah State University, they may not be able to keep up with their firepower and ultimately get eliminated from the tournament.
Yet, the Panthers will still win the SIAC East, be a dangerous threat in the tournament and win the championship. Although they don’t score a bunch of points and aren’t efficient offensively, their stingy defense, which ranks in the top four in the conference, will hold high powered teams. Through their defense, stellar CAU Panthers will win the 2020 SIAC Men's Basketball Tournament.
This story has been originally published in Clark Atlanta University's student newspaper - the Panther. For inquiries, email James McJunkins: firstname.lastname@example.org